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43% Of Fans Agree That This Is The Most Disappointing Sequel Of All Time

The cinematic landscape of 2020 is overwhelmingly dominated by sequels, for better or worse. As the age of the blockbuster trudges on, franchises and sagas continue to get bigger, encompassing more and more of the release slate every year. Of course, this isn't a totally positive phenomenon, as smaller independent productions often struggle to find their footing against their established peers, but for the average moviegoer, continuations are just what they need to escape the monotony of the everyday. The recognizability is a comfort, and in the middle of a global pandemic, everyone could use some of that right about now.

Sequels serve to expand the fan bases of properties like Star Wars, The Matrix, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for example, and those committed to those universes develop very strong feelings about every new addition. In turn, fans can grow especially vocal if the latest installments fail to live up to their predecessors and leave audiences underwhelmed. 

This is abundantly clear when looking at the results of Looper's survey, which reached out to cinephiles around the globe to get their picks for which sequel deserves the title of most disappointing. With over 187,000 votes cast, the answer could not be more definitive: Spider-Man 3.

Spider-Man 3 never stood a chance

2007's Spider-Man 3 ran away with the undesirable victory — securing 43 percent of the overall votes and defeating the likes of Anchorman 2, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Matrix Reloaded, as well as user-supplied answers like Terminator: Dark Fate and Pacific Rim Uprising. Its win by such a large margin begs the question: What made the final Tobey Maguire-led Spidey flick a resounding failure in the eyes of its most devoted fans?

To best answer this query, recalling the historical impact of the original Spider-Man films is crucial. In the early 2000s, director Sam Raimi's web-slinging flicks were the epitome of superhero cinema, pushing the titular hero even further into the mainstream than he already was. Fans and critics alike still revere 2002's Spider-Man, and 2004's Spider-Man 2, as some of the finest in the genre. Unsurprisingly, keeping the momentum going into the third movie proved no easy task.

In a bid to blow the previous two movies out of the water, Spider-Man 3 quickly fell into disarray. Its over-complicated story, mishandling of the source material, and a bloated villain roster including Venom (Topher Grace), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), and Harry Osborn's New Goblin (James Franco) actively worked against it. Overall, in a similar fashion to 2017's Justice League, the final chapter in Raimi's trilogy became a muddled mess hampered by extensive studio interference and creative clashes behind the scenes. 

As if that doesn't convince you, keep in mind that this film's failure effectively killed this particular continuity. The planned Spider-Man 4 wound up on the cutting room floor in favor of the 2012 reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, ending this series on a low note. What could've been another solid entry into the story of one of Marvel's biggest names amounted to little more than a parody of the previous films. Many have come to enjoy the flick for its campiness in recent years, but even today, most fans still feel cheated by Spider-Man 3.